Top 50 Chess Quotes of All Time

25 03 2015
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Written by Yury Markushin
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 00:00
50 greatest chess quotes of all time

Great quotes store big and important ideas in just a few words. They transport wisdom that great chess players have accumulated throughout decades of experience.This list of quotes is for those who is aiming for big success. These quotes will both motivate and educate you for becoming a better chess player.

1. “By the time a player becomes a Grandmaster, almost all of his training time is dedicated to work on this first phase. The opening is the only phase that holds out the potential for true creativity and doing something entirely new.” – Garry Kasparov
2. “When your house is on fire, you can’t be bothered with the neighbors. Or, as we say in chess, if your King is under attack, don’t worry about losing a pawn on the queenside.” – Garry Kasparov
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3. “By strictly observing Botvinnik’s rule regarding the thorough analysis of one’s own games, with the years I have come to realize that this provides the foundation for the continuos development of chess mastery.” – Garry Kasparov

4. “Chess continues to advance over time, so the players of the future will inevitably surpass me in the quality of their play, assuming the rules and regulations allow them to play serious chess. But it will likely be a long time before anyone spends 20 consecutive years as number, one as I did.” – Garry Kasparov
5. “You can’t overestimate the importance of psychology in chess, and as much as some players try to downplay it, I believe that winning requires a constant and strong psychology not just at the board but in every aspect of your life.” – Garry Kasparov

6. “I … have two vocations: chess and engineering. If I played chess only, I believe that my success would not have been significantly greater. I can play chess well only when I have fully convalesced from chess and when the ‘hunger for chess’ once more awakens within me.”  – Mikhail Botvinnik

7. “If you are going to make your mark among masters, you have to work far harder and more intensively, or, to put it more exactly, the work is far more complex than that needed to gain the title of Master.” – Mikhail Botvinnik

8. “Above all else, before playing in competitions a player must have regard to his health, for if he is suffering from ill-health he cannot hope for success. In this connection the best of all tonics is 15 to 20 days in the fresh air, in the country.”  – Mikhail Botvinnik

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Note: If you want to dramatically improve your chess simply studying Grandmaster’s games or solving tactics it not enough. In order to take your chess to the whole new level you need to work on all aspects of the game. That’s what we call a “combined approach”. We will combine 5 most important elements of chess into a single training session to build a good training habits and to make sure you can get out maximum results in minimum amount of time. You will get a access to 3 weeks of trainingwhere you will learn:

  • Tactics
  • Positional play
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9. “If you are weak in the endgame, you must spend more time analysing studies; in your training games you must aim at transposing to endgames, which will help you to acquire the requisite experience.” – Mikhail Botvinnik

10. “My forte was the middlegame. I had a good feeling for the critical moments of the play. This undoubtedly compensated for my lack of opening preparation and, possibly, not altogether perfect play in the endgame. In my games things often did not reach the endgame!” – Boris Spassky

11. “The shortcoming of hanging pawns is that they present a convenient target for attack. As the exchange of men proceeds, their potential strength lessens and during the endgame they turn out, as a rule, to be weak.” – Boris Spassky

12. “Of course, analysis can sometimes give more accurate results than intuition but usually it’s just a lot of work. I normally do what my intuition tells me to do. Most of the time spent thinking is just to double-check.” – Magnus Carlsen

13. “I started by just sitting by the chessboard exploring things. I didn’t even have books at first, and I just played by myself. I learnt a lot from that, and I feel that it is a big reason why I now have a good intuitive understanding of chess.” – Magnus Carlsen

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14. “Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.” – Magnus Carlsen

15. “I didn’t picture myself as even a grandmaster, to say nothing of aspiring to the chess crown. This was not because I was timid – I wasn’t – but because I simply lived in one world, and the grandmasters existed in a completely different one. People like that were not really even people, but like gods or mythical heroes.” – Anatoly Karpov

16. “By all means examine the games of the great chess players, but don’t swallow them whole. Their games are valuable not for their separate moves, but for their vision of chess, their way of thinking.” – Anatoly Karpov

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17. “The great mobility of the King forms one of the chief characteristics of all endgame strategy. In the middlegame the King is a mere “super”, in the endgame on the other hand – on of the “principals”. We must therefore develop him, bring him nearer to the fighting line.” – Aron Nimzowitsch

18. “If in a battle, I seize a bit of debatable land with a handful of soldiers, without having done anything to prevent an enemy bombardment of the position, would it ever occur to me to speak of a conquest of the terrain in question? Obviously not. Then why should I do so in chess?” – Aron Nimzowitsch

19. “When I today ask myself whence I got the moral courage, for it takes moral courage to make a move (or form a plan) running counter to all tradition, I think I may say in answer, that it was only my intense preoccupation with the problem of the blockade which helped me to do so.” – Aron Nimzowitsch

20. “It is a well known phenomenon that the same amateur who can conduct the middle game quite creditably, is usually perfectly helpless in the end game. One of the principal requisites of good chess is the ability to treat both the middle and end game equally well.” – Aron Nimzowitsch

21. “In mathematics, if I find a new approach to a problem, another mathematician might claim that he has a better, more elegant solution. In chess, if anybody claims he is better than I, I can checkmate him.” – Emanuel Lasker

22. “By positional play a master tries to prove and exploit true values, whereas by combinations he seeks to refute false values … A combination produces an unexpected re-assessment of values.” – Emanuel Lasker

23. “He who has a slight disadvantage plays more attentively, inventively and more boldly than his antagonist who either takes it easy or aspires after too much. Thus a slight disadvantage is very frequently seen to convert into a good, solid advantage.” – Emanuel Lasker

24. “A player, as the world believed he was, he was not, his studious temperament made that impossible; and thus he was conquered by a player and in the end little valued by the world, he died.” – Emanuel Lasker

25. “It is no secret that any talented player must in his soul be an artist, and what could be dearer to his heart and soul than the victory of the subtle forces of reason over crude material strength! Probably everyone has his own reason for liking the King`s Gambit, but my love for it can be seen in precisely those terms.” – David Bronstein

26. “It is annoying that the rules of chess do not allow a pawn to take either horizontally or backwards, but only forwards … This psychological tuning is ideal for attacking purposes, but what about for defence?”  – David Bronstein

27. “If you have made a mistake or committed an inaccuracy there is no need to become annoyed and to think that everything is lost. You have to reorientate yourself quickly and find a new plan in the new situation.” – David Bronstein

28. “When you play against an experienced opponent who exploits all the defensive resources at his command you sometimes have to walk time and again, along the narrow path of ‘the only move’.” – David Bronstein

29. “Chess is not for the faint-hearted; it absorbs a person entirely. To get to the bottom of this game, he has to give himself up into slavery. Chess is difficult, it demands work, serious reflection and zealous research.” – Wilhelm Steinitz

30. “The task of the positional player is systematically to accumulate slight advantages and try to convert temporary advantages into permanent ones, otherwise the player with the better position runs the risk of losing it.” – Wilhelm Steinitz

31. “Whenever Black succeeds in assuming the initiative and maintaining it to a successful conclusion, the sporting spirit of the chess lover feels gratified, because it shows that the resources of the game are far from being exhausted.” – Savielly Tartakower

32. “No one ever won a game by resigning.” – Savielly Tartakower

33. “It is always better to sacrifice your opponents’ men.” – Savielly Tartakower

34. “The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.” – Savielly Tartakower

35. “A thorough understanding of the typical mating continuations makes the most complicated sacrificial combinations leading up to them not only difficult, but almost a matter of course.” – Savielly Tartakower

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36. “All that matters on the chessboard is good moves.” – Bobby Fischer

37.
“A strong memory, concentration, imagination, and a strong will is required to become a great chess player.”  – Bobby Fischer

38. “Tactics flow from a superior position.”  – Bobby Fischer

39. “To play for a draw, at any rate with white, is to some degree a crime against chess.” – Mikhail Tal

40. “I have always thought it a matter of honour for every chess player to deserve the smile of fortune.” – Mikhail Tal

41. “Naturally, the psychological susceptibility of a match participant is significantly higher than a participant in a tournament, since each game substantially changes the over-all position.” – Mikhail Tal

42. “I go over many games collections and pick up something from the style of each player.” – Mikhail Tal

43. “Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation.” – Max Euwe

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44.
“If it is true that a player’s style is his person, then everyone plays as he is intended to by nature. I am naturally cautious, and I altogether dislike situations which involve risk.” – Tigran Petrosian

45. “In almost any position the boundless possibilities of chess enable a new or at least a little-studied continuation to be found.” – Tigran Petrosian

46. “They knock me for my draws, for my style, they knock me for everything I do.” – Tigran Petrosian

47. “Even the most distinguished players have in their careers experienced severe disappointments due to ignorance of the best lines or suspension of their own common sense.” – Tigran Petrosian

48. “In some places words have been replaced by symbols which, like amulets from a witch’s bag, have the power to consume the living spirit of chess.” – Tigran Petrosian

49. “It is easy to play against the young players, for me they are like an open book.” – Tigran Petrosian

50. “They knock me for my draws, for my style, they knock me for everything I do.” – Tigran Petrosian





12 Dr Seuss Quotes To Refresh Your Perspective On Life & Make You Feel Spectacular

29 08 2014

Dr Seuss Quotes It was first grade and it was my turn to read a book in front of the class. I was terrified to say the least. I spent days agonizing over the perfect book. I wanted it to be inspirational. I wanted it to keep the other kids’ attention. I wanted it to be well, …great. After searching hi and lo I finally settled on a Dr. Seuss book. how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

It was easy to read, everyone loved how it rhymed, and it actually had a good message too. It was a hit! And I’ve been a Dr. Seuss fan ever since. My family will tell you that one of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas every year. I can hear the song now… “You’re a mean one…Mr….” (you totally just finished the song in your head didn’t you…don’t lie ;-))

Anyway, it’s been a loooong time since first grade but today I would still like to share some timeless Dr. Seuss wisdom with you. So gather around class and listen up…

12 Dr. Seuss Quotes To Refresh Your                                                                                                  Perspective On Life & Make You Feel Spectacular

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#1

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Cherish the good memories and let go of the bad. You have the power to focus on whatever you choose. Smile at each good memory and realize they are gifts that you can hold onto forever.

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#2

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

Enjoy today. Live in the moment. But also have positive expectation. Don’t live for the future but plan for it, embrace it, and set yourself up to look forward to it. Do things today that your future self with thank you for.

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#3

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

Get your sleep, but then get up and live, work, and make a difference. You have one life to live so go and make it spectacular. The choice is yours.

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#4

“Think and wonder, wonder and think”

Never lose that child like wonder. Never stop learning, growing, and challenging yourself.

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#5

“THINK! You can think any think that you wish.” 

The mind is a powerful tool. Whatever you think about grows. Are you thinking negative, self damaging thoughts? Maybe you should “think” about changing those into positive, uplifting, and life changing thoughts. Just “think” about it ok? ;-)

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#6

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

The choice is yours. Stop blaming. Stop procrastinating. Stop letting fear paralyze you. Do you like the path you’re on? Is it leading you toward the things you want in life? If so…good keep on it. If not…then steer yourself in a different direction. When you take 100% responsibility for where you are in life and where you plan to be…amazing things will happen.

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#7

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Readers are leaders. Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight. It builds your self-image. Through reading we acquire knowledge to deal with any situation. And when we are well prepared, our self-image and self-confidence increase.

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#8

“Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

You can’t please everyone so stop trying. Focus on you. Study yourself. Find out what makes you tick. Then vow to be the best version of you that you can be. You have a unique gift and a special purpose. Be proud, be purposeful, and don’t ever apologize for being you.

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#9

“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

If you found out you had one week to live, would you change anything? Try to remember that none of us are promised a tomorrow. Live each day on purpose. Be intentional about your life and the legacy you will leave behind.

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#10

“Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

I don’t know about you but life turned out to be much harder than I anticipated. There are good days and bad days. Seasons of joy and seasons of sorry. Try to remember that everyone you meet is going through the same great balancing act. Everyone has their own battles, struggles, and sorrows. Show compassion wherever you can…even when undeserving.

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Never underestimate the difference that you can make. Even in small things.  Don’t wait for other people to take action. Make the first move. Be the first to apologize. Send that text, write that email, say what you need to say. You be the one to make things better.

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#12

“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And You are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

What are you going to do with the God-given gifts, talents, and abilities you have? It’s up to you. The decision is yours. Only time will tell…

– See more at: http://www.efficientlifeskills.com/12-dr-seuss-quotes-to-refresh-your-perspective-on-life-make-you-feel-spectacular





Editing Your Life’s Stories Can Create Happier Endings

2 01 2014

by LULU MILLER

January 01, 2014 2:00 PM

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

It was a rainy night in October when my nephew Lewis passed the Frankenstein statue standing in front of a toy store. The 2 1/2-year-old boy didn’t see the monster at first, and when he turned around, he was only inches from Frankenstein’s green face, bloodshot eyes and stitched-up skin.

The 4-foot-tall monster terrified my nephew so much that he ran deep into the toy store. And on the way back out, he simply couldn’t face the statue. He jumped into his mother’s arms and had to bury his head in her shoulder.

For hours after the incident, Lewis was stuck. He kept replaying the image of Frankenstein’s face in his mind. “Mom, remember Frankenstein?” he asked over and over again. He and his mom talked about how scary the statue was, how Lewis had to jump into her arms. It was “like a record loop,” my sister said.

But then, suddenly, Lewis’ story completely changed. My sister was recounting the tale to the family: how they left the store, how they had to walk by Frankenstein. And then — “I peed on him!!” Lewis blurted out triumphantly, with a glint in his eyes.

In that instant, Lewis had overpowered Frankenstein — if only in his mind.

“Well, your nephew is a brilliant story editor,'” says psychologist Tim Wilson of the University of Virginia.

Wilson has been studying how small changes in a person’s own stories and memories can help with emotional health. He calls the process “story editing.” And he says small tweaks in the interpretation of life events can reap huge benefits.

This process is essentially what happens during months, or years, of therapy. But Wilson has discovered ways you can change your story in only about 45 minutes.

Wilson first stumbled on the technique back in the early 1980s, when he found that a revised story helped college students who were struggling academically. “I’m bad at school” was the old story many of them were telling themselves. That story leads to a self-defeating cycle that keeps them struggling, Wilson says.

The new story Wilson gave them was: “Everyone fails at first.” He introduced the students to this idea by having them read accounts from other students who had struggled with grades at first and then improved. It was a 40-minute intervention that had effects three years later.

“The ones who got our little story-editing nudge improved their grades, whereas the others didn’t,” Wilson says. “And to our surprise … those who got our story-editing intervention were more likely to stay in college. The people in the control group were more likely to drop out.”

Similar interventions have also helped students feel like they fit in socially at college and have helped parents to stop abusing their kids.

The idea is that if you believe you are something else — perhaps smarter, more socially at ease — you can allow for profound changes to occur.

You can even try story-editing yourself at home with these writing exercises. Simply pick a troubling event. And write about it for 15 minutes each day for four days. That’s it.

These exercises have been shown to help relieve mental anguish, improve health and increase attendance at work.

No one is sure why the approach works. But Wilson’s theory is that trying to understand why a painful event happened is mentally consuming. People get stuck in thinking, “Why did he leave me?” or “Why was she so disappointed in me?” Or for Lewis, “Where did that scary Frankenstein face come from?”

As you write about the troubling, confusing event again and again, eventually you begin to make sense of it. You can put those consuming thoughts to rest.

So as you look forward to changing yourself this year, consider looking back on whatever your Frankensteins may be. And if you squint your eyes a little and turn your head just a bit, you may see that your leg was lifted. That maybe you did pee on him after all.





20 Things To Let Go Of Before The New Year

30 12 2013
DECEMBER 16, 2013 9:00 AM EST

How much stress are you carrying around? Do you feel burdened by life’s circumstances and emotional issues? Becoming more grounded and happy starts with letting go of worry and stress. I learned this in my own journey, through overcoming drug addictions, healing myself from depression, and walking away from a career in corporate to follow my heart and be a successful writer and life coach. In the process, I had to let go of a lot of things to become the person I am today.

Physically, spiritually and emotionally, I had to learn how to let go of the person I thought I should be in order to be the person I really wanted to be. Letting go of anything in life can be a little scary, but it can also be an amazing act of self-love.

Letting go of my worries and stress made a difference for me; of course I still dip in and out of some of my stress jar from time to time, but I’ve found this list a good reminder of what I need to strive for each day in order to reach unlimited happiness.

Here are 20 things to let go of in order to reach unlimited happiness.

1. Let go of all thoughts that don’t make you feel empowered and strong.

2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.

3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.

4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.

5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.

7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.

8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.

9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.

10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.

11. Let go of thinking there’s a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.

12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.

13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.

14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.

15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you’ve done the best you can, and that’s enough.

16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.

17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.

18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.

19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.

20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!





Reflections on Turning Sixty by Bob Bishop

17 11 2013

The phrase “turning 60” brings to mind the face of a clock. One reason is that my youngest daughter gave me a notebook with clock faces on it with a quote from the ancient book of Ecclesiastes for my birthday. This quote exploded in my mind with a haunting song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950’s. The lyrics were adapted almost entirely from verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962 by the Byrds. “To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)…There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)..And a time to every purpose, under Heaven.” It is difficult not to sing it as I write this. 

So my mind ventured further. As a math teacher I felt compelled to investigate the significance of 60 in the matter of time. The age old question pierced my thoughts. Why are there 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour and 24 hours in a day? I discovered that there was a rather enigmatic tale of a collaboration of the Egyptian use of sundials to divide a twelve hour day and a twelve hour night, the Babylonian using base 60 in their astronomical calculations and the Greek mathematicians who divided circles into 360 degrees. It has a wonderfully mathematical history interesting to some and accepted by everyone. So we have the invention of the face of a clock circle explained as well as the significance of 60 in the matter of time.
So I have lived 60 years, 219,145 days, 525,960 hours, 31,557,600 minutes or 1,893,456,000 seconds.

That brings us to a story of a couple who had an old grandfather clock in their family for generations. It used to keep perfect time, but lately they had noticed that, instead of going “tick tock tick tock “, it was just went ” tick, tick, tick, tick “,and consequently it had started to lose time. Eventually they decided to take the clock back to the manufacturers in Germany. The clock maker studied the grandfather clock suspiciously, walked up to the face and declared, ” Ve haf vays of making you tock.”

Clocks have a face but no mouth to talk with. They have hands but do not communicate. We impose personality to Father Time but still time tics away giving no meaning to our lives. Clocks do not give meaning- they only give time. As I return to the circular face of a clock I again see the turning of time. Turn, turn, turn. The hands circle round and round but do not produce significance.

I have an old clock that I wind every week just as my father did years ago. I remember the sounds of the gongs on the hour, the pings on the half hour and the memories of my father. As I look through the scrapbooks of my life that clock appears over and over. Through my childhood, through my middle school years and high school years it was in the background of the photographs. The clock was on the fireplace mantle where Christmas cards were hung. It was also on display at my father’s memorial service. I have significant memories and I give meaning to that clock.
Clocks are tools and like other instruments they have a specific purpose, meaning and significance we give them. But they do not give us purpose, meaning or significance.

Here is a metaphorical example for the use of tools. When you observe a clock you will see that most are round, they have 12 numbers,  they help when you want to be on time, and helps with schedules and appointments. Now take a compass. Notice that it is also round, it has 360 numbers, it helps when you are lost and gives us direction.

A person run by a clock could be seen as one who runs life by patterns, often distracted by the urgent, goes in circles, just turns the crank but winds up nowhere. Consider the idioms about time. We use so many phrases with it. We pass time, waste time, kill time and lose time. We do things in good time and we take our time. We save time and we are right on time. We are out of time. We mind the time. We keep time and we stall for time.

A person led by a compass has a direction in life, runs life by principles, stays focused on the important, and has direction and even sets direction. What comes to mind here is how a compass gave Einstein a sense of wonder. Here is how the story goes. When Einstein was five years old he came down with an illness that forced him to take bed rest. His father gave him a compass – a gift that would change his life. He pondered what made the arrow always point to north no matter where he stood. He shook it up, spun it around and it would still point north. When most people go through their lives with the least thought of the mysteries of the universe, this compass caused him to question. It kindled in him a life-long need to know how nature worked. There is a force in nature, a magic. Nature itself tells us there is much more than what senses cannot explain. This was the first time he experienced wonder. This sense of wonder gave Einstein a sense of direction for the rest of his life. A sense of awe and wonder drives one to ponder as Shakespeare wrote when Hamlet said to Horatio “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Returning to a timepiece we find that there are two words for time in the Greek. They are chronos and kairos. Both are Greek words which mean time, but they imply different things. Chronos refers to minutes and seconds like a clock. It refers to time as a measurable resource. It reminds us that we have only so much time in this world. Mitch Albom says in The Time Keeper , “Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

Kairos is also a word used for time. Kairos means an appointed time, an opportune moment, or a due season. We tend to think of our time in a chronos mindset. We think of having 24 hours in a day. We define our workweeks by the number of hours that we work. We have a list of things to do and only so much time to get everything done. Being conscious of our minutes and seconds is a good thing. Our time on earth is so brief, and we want to be good stewards of every second that we have. We only have such a brief opportunity to raise our kids when they’re still young children. When a friend is experiencing pain, we have a brief window of time in which to reach out to them. Instead of looking at our time as grains of sand slipping through an hourglass, we view our time as opportunities flying by. Instead of viewing our time as seconds ticking by, we realize that not every second holds the same worth. This presupposes meaning and purpose.

Brian Selznick, in his wonderful children’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Isabelle and Hugo discusses this high in a clock tower.

Isabelle: I wonder what my purpose is…

Hugo Cabret: Everything has a purpose, clocks tell you the time, trains take you to places. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

For Hugo the giant clock reminded him of his purpose but it did not give him purpose. And such it is when we look for purpose and meaning “under the sun.” (a phrase introduced again in the ancient book of Ecclesiastes). Like a sundial and the silent face of a clock, as well as a calendar or how many birthdays I live–they give no meaning, they measure time and provoke us to see a higher purpose.

Others have set their sights higher for meaning by looking beyond the endless measurement of time to the vastness of the universe. The tools and instruments are not clocks but telescopes.

We hear from scientists that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Light reaching us from the earliest known galaxies has been travelling, therefore, for more than 13 billion years. So one might assume that the radius of the universe is 13.7 billion light-years and that the whole universe size is double that, or 27.4 billion light-years wide. The standard picture is that our universe descends from a Bang 13.7 billion years ago. According to scientists, we do not even know whether it is finite or infinite.

The satirist Sci-fi writer Douglas Adams, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says “The universe is a very big thing that contains a great number of planets and a great number of beings. It is Everything. What we live in. All around us. The lot. Not nothing. It is quite difficult to actually define what the Universe means, but fortunately this Guide doesn’t worry about that and just gives us some useful information to live in it.”

We gather this smallness and meaningless from the recent film Gravity. We see Ryan Stone hanging in the vast void of space and devoid of God seeking enough reason to survive and bravely overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to return to earth. Here I am reminded of a quote by Ravi Zacharias, “Meaninglessness is the plague of our time.”

But in the vastness of space we can be wowed but miss the music of the spheres, the poetry and mystery of wonder. Does science necessarily lead us down a road that ends in the naturalistic explanation of everything we see? In the nineteenth century, modernism lead us that direction. The “God of the gaps” was finding himself in a narrower and narrower niche. However, 20th century and now 21st century science is leading us back down the road of design – not from a lack of scientific explanation, but from scientific explanation that requires an appeal to something that the tools of science do not deal well with. As a result of the recent evidence in support of design, many scientists now believe in God. Here are a few of these voices:

Paul Davies: “The laws [of physics] … seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design… The universe must have a purpose”.

Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy): “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.”

Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.” Note: Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, hence his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. ……I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”

It is strange how the infinity of time and vastness of space impresses people but smallness displays infinity in another direction.

When we replace the telescope of astronomy with the microscope of nuclear physics we ask how small is the universe? It can be said that there are possibly more atoms within that single grain of sand than there are grains of sand on this entire beach.

When we replace the microscope back to instruments of time measurement we approach the question how short of time can we measure. We have moved from seconds to, milliseconds (one thousandth of second), to single digit microseconds (one millionth of a second) and now into the nanosecond range”

Here we are reminded of William Blake’s haunting poem….

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

We are awed that we can explore infinity of the macrocosm as well as the microcosm with instruments of science. But tools are made to measure and observe things. They are not to give meaning. We need not bow to the papacy of science. The tools of science compel us to keep asking questions but it will never give us the answers to the deeper questions of life.
As we seek answers to life, as we search for that compass to give direction and wonder, as we desire a kairos purpose in our lives, as our hearts echo the childhood wisdom of Hugo Cabret, as we see that science does not necessarily lead us down the road of atheism, we can ask the deeper questions of life and seek answers for the head, heart and hands. We can seek answers that are intellectually satisfying, answers that fill the desires of our heart, and answers that give us something significant to do.

Just as there are scientific facts to the universe there are also facts and deeper questions that science does not have the instruments to discover.

Fact number one: There is something rather than nothing. We live as though we are real people in a real world. Why is there something rather than nothing?

Fact number two: We can know this universe (or at least part of it). We live as though we can trust our senses and reasoning. Why do we have the ability to know and understand?

Fact number three: People have dignity as well as cruelty. We live as though we have a superior standing in the world and are moral creatures, but we have difficulty living up to this standard. Why do we have a sense of morality, love, and justice?

Fact number four: We hunger for something more. We feel a need for purpose, we have longings to satisfy, we desire challenge, victory, and contribution. Why do we seek beyond what is? Why do we feel like the Hallow Men of T.S. Eliot yet feel unfulfilled at the end of it all…”This is the way the world ends….Not with a bang but a whimper.”? Why are we not satisfied with Macbeth’s utterance, “Life….. is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

I remember after my brother died of cancer he left us his car. Not able to sell this car it had just enough energy to drive to the junk yard. Arriving there I traded the car for some cash and asked the attendant what I should do with the car keys. He took the keys and threw them into the junkyard with all the rest of the wreckage. And so it will be with all the so-called scientific keys of life that with a hubris bravado claim they have finally arrived at the answer of life. We have a history full of claims. Again Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun.

We seek satisfying and sufficient answers. We desire something greater to live for. We seek not just a life enjoyed but a life with a purpose larger than we are. Deep inside we seek a life non sibi (not for self). Deep inside we desire our finale to have a life well-lived, a life well- played and a life well-told. We will not find these answers or even the correct questions “under the sun” but somewhere else. So at sixty years of age I looked at a clock, face to face, and it served only as a goad for me to seek further.

I close with these words by Frederick Buechner from his book Wishful Thinking,

On her deathbed, Gertrude Stein is said to have asked, “What is the answer?” Then, after a long silence, “What is the question?” Don’t start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening for the questions it asks. We are much involved, all of us, with questions about things that matter a good deal today but will be forgotten by this time tomorrow—the immediate wheres and whens and hows that face us daily at home and at work—but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions about things that matter always, life-and-death questions about meaning, purpose, and value. To lose track of such deep questions as these is to risk losing track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are really going. There is perhaps no stronger reason for reading the Bible than that somewhere among all those India-paper pages there awaits each reader, whoever he is, the one question which, though for years he may have been pretending not to hear it, is the central question of his own life.





21 Habits of Happy People

16 11 2013

Posted in  Self Improvement on January 30, 2013Comments: 162 comments

 

“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.” ~ Elbert Hubbard 

Happiness is one aspiration all people share. No one wants to be sad and depressed.

We’ve all seen people who are always happy – even amidst agonizing life trials. I’m not saying happy people don’t feel grief, sorrow or sadness; they just don’t let it overtake their life. The following are 21 things happy people make a habit of doing:

1. Appreciate Life

Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends Wisely

Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate

Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously

Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving

Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.

6. Do What They Love

Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life

Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than work. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh

Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive

Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.

10. Gratitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.

11. Invest in Relationships

Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Their Word

Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Meditate

Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.

14. Mind Their Own Business

Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

15. Optimism

See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.

16. Love Unconditionally

Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence

Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive

Accept what can not be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care

Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence

Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.

21. Take Responsibility

Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these habits as you own. The more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle – the happier you will be.

Most of all: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.





WE ONLY GET STRONGER WHEN IT’S DIFFICULT!

9 09 2013

Photo by Barney Moss

Gifted kids, by their nature, often breeze through the early years of school, not facing a real challenge until high school or college. They get used to succeeding without putting in the work. Then, when things get difficult, they can flounder. Even in 6th grade, I’d see this starting.

So, here’s a great opening week discussion that sets up a year-long expectation. Teach your students that we only get stronger when it’s difficult.

How To Grow A Muscle

I showed my students this image:

Weight lifter

Photo from the US Navy

After waiting for the commotion to die down, I asked:

“Do you know how his muscles got so large?”

They knew that lifting weight was involved, but didn’t know about whymuscles grow.

Push ‘Em To Their Limits

I explained: muscles only grow when we work them just more than what they’re used to. This causes “micro-tears,” damaging the muscle just slightly. This is why our muscles hurt after a workout.

The muscle then thinks, “Uh oh! We’re doing harder work, I better get stronger!” and uses protein to repair the micro-tears, building itself backa little bit bigger.

Then, we repeat.

Work the muscle past its ability, it hurts, and then it rebuilds itself stronger. Eventually, this is how bodybuilders get huge muscles! Little bit by little bit, they push their muscles just past their limits.

We Only Get Stronger When It’s Difficult

I’d emphasize, if we did nine pushups, but stopped because the tenth got tough, then the muscle won’t grow! It’s only the difficult repetitions that cause growth. We only get stronger when we push ourself through that final, tough pushup.

Of course, I’d dramatically act out the final repetition of a bicep curl, wincing with the imaginary effort.

Our Thinking Muscle

All of this is true for thinking and learning as well. When it’s difficult, when it’s uncomfortable, when it’s getting frustrating, that’s when we’re pushing our brain. That’s when we’re learning and growing.

So many of my students would give up just as things got hard. They don’t like the way it feels. They’re not used to it. But the longer they wait, the more difficult it will be to push themselves.

This difficult part could apply to:

  • finishing the word problems in math homework
  • writing out answers in complete sentences
  • taking notes while reading
  • citing sources in a research paper
  • pushing through a challenging book

It Gets Easier!

And, as many athletes will say, you don’t just get used to the idea of pushing past a barrier, you actually start to like it! Runners, bodybuilders, and swimmers all profess how good they feel after a tough workout. It’s getting started that’s so hard.

Beyond The Brain

I’m sure your students will come up with many different situations where struggling past the difficult part is important. Do a class brainstorm and capture these examples.

A Year’s Motto

I printed out the statement “We Only Get Stronger When It’s Difficult” and stuck it to the board, referencing it constantly. If I saw the class being academically lazy, I’d point to the weight-lifter and recite the motto: we only get stronger when it’s difficult!

Here’s an image I made using PasuKaru76‘s hilarious Lego photo. Feel free to download, print, and use it in your class:

Lego stronger

Download here in color or here